Sparta from Isparta

Wow. A lot has been going on here. Since the day we arrived in Isparta, we have been spending a lot of time with our friends from the US, from New Zealand and of course from Turkey. The nights at the language café are pretty awesome: we play many games, drink tea and talk a lot. Some of the locals even bring cookies or homemade dishes sometimes. We really like it!

Last Saturday we went hiking. First, we drove from Isparta to the little village Akpinar, which is situated on a hill overlooking Egirdir Lake. This lake is the fourth biggest lake in Turkey and therefore, it attracts many Turkish and international tourists. The views from Akpinar are amazing, but the views from the top of the mountain are even more astonishing. When we had arrived in the village, our friends Michelle and David started screaming while stepping out of the van. Puppies! Four little, energetic pups were running towards us, followed by their friendly mother. They were all really skinny, but other than that they seemed to be pretty healthy. The mother didn’t seem to have any milk left and we filled up their empty water bowl. Two bigger male dogs were also walking around the place, and we figured that the black one must have been the father of the puppies. After we had been cuddling them for a while, we left them in the village and started our hike up the mountain.

The first part of the walk we were accompanied by the other dog, who seemed to know the way. We climbed up the mountain in a slow but steady pace. Although we didn’t really know where the path was leading, we enjoyed every part of it. We passed many cows and we saw the barns they were probably staying in during the night. After about one hour we arrived at some ruins of an ancient town called Prostanne. There was a sign saying that it dates back to the 5th century, but there was not much left to see. Another option is that some of the old acropolis is still hidden underground. However, the view was getting better and better, so after a little break we continued climbing up the mountain. At this point, the dog had left us, and we had to find the way by ourselves. Luckily, the path leading to the top was easy to find. We took many photos: the view over the mountains behind us was incredible! When we finally arrived at the top, we became silent and stared at the view over the lake for a while. The hike was tough, but this view was definitely worth it!

Fortunately, walking down was a lot easier and we quickly got back to Akpinar. We barely arrived in the village or the puppies were already running towards us. They were all so incredibly cute! The mother was also in love with us, so she followed us while we were walking to the van. Somehow, we had known from the first moment we had laid eyes on one of the puppies, that he was going to come home with us. Because we wanted to be really sure about it (and because we craved coffee), we went to the restaurant in the village to talk about it some more. We had gözleme (Turkish pancakes) and watched over the beautiful lake one more time. And yes… we were ready to make a really big decision.

Once we had arrived back at the van, the dogs were all still waiting for us. A farmer was just about to feed them some bread and Tamara walked up to him to ask to whom the dogs belonged. He made some gestures to tell us to just take them all. Of course, this was never going to happen! We got a blanket from the van, rubbed it over the mom’s fur and picked up the little guy we had fallen in love with. His mom wanted to come with us too, but unfortunately, we could only take one dog. Michelle took the blanket and the puppy to the backseat and we drove back to Isparta. The dog had peacefully fallen asleep when we arrived back at our parking spot. Since the shops were still open, we directly walked to the pet store and bought a cage, food, the smallest available collar, a chewy toy, lice shampoo and a leash. We had to find a name for our little friend!

That night, people arrived at the café and they all wanted to meet the puppy. Even though he was overwhelmed, he really liked all the attention and didn’t go to sleep until everybody had gone home. The next day, we went to the veterinarian and found out that our puppy is approximately 8-10 weeks old. He is healthy and the vet gave him an anti-parasite treatment. By now, he has gotten quite used to the crowd at the café. On Christmas night he even slept for almost two hours, while all the visitors were making a lot of noise. During the nights he sleeps in his cage, next to our beds. He wakes up once in a while, but always goes back to sleep quickly. We try to potty-train him, but it’s pretty difficult while being indoors a lot. Other than that, it’s a lot of fun to have this little man around! We decided to name him Sparta, to always remember where he came from.

As Christmas is not such a big thing here in Turkey, we didn’t really feel the Christmas vibe. However, we got together with all the volunteers and with some of the locals and had a very nice evening. We wish all of our readers a very Merry Christmas and an adventurous and joyful 2020!

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